My belief is that James Clear coined this tactic first in his Atomic Habits book. He calls it the Never Miss 2-ice rule.
I’ve used it many times to (as the title says) fortify my own self-efficacy. And I’ve taught it to many others who are in the throes of creating a new behavior in their lives.
It works every time you remember to employ the rule. Even if you’re fully aware that it’s just a gamifyer!
It takes all of 2 seconds to remember but its power is prolific.
I have an added bonus to share with you on top of James’ original. But first – shouldn’t we answer what the rule actually is?
The Never Miss 2-ice Rule
Is very basically – to make a decision, or a contract with yourself that in the process of creating a new habit/behavior you will try your best to show up each time you should show up.
But because life isn’t all smooth and convenient, when a genuine glitch prevents you from showing up one time, instead of beating yourself up about it, and then proceeding to give up on trying again (cause you’re such a loser).
You accept that this has happened. You don’t self blame. You resolve to not miss the next occurrence, and instead, to show up even stronger than before!
Hey-ho! Failure = Fortified Self-Efficacy + Zero Self Blame (you like my formula, no? 😮).
And now – let’s talk about…
What’s the Point of the Never Miss 2-ice Rule?
To Gamify Your Consistency
The most obvious reason to use this rule is to gamify your consistency when building a new habit. It’s a fun way of incentivizing yourself to show up every day in order to keep your running streak. This is basic psychology – that’s why it works so well.
It Leaves You Room to Be a Human With a Real Life
Which leads me to the second reason why this is a powerful habit creation tactic.
It gives you an understanding that life isn’t going to work according to your plan all the time – so it cuts you some slack for being a normal human with ever fluctuating demands on your time and attention.
That way – when you fail to show up one time – it gives you a license to redeem and fortify your self belief, instead of grinding you into the pavement with guilt and blame.
The only way to redeem yourself for failing to show up once – is to prevent yourself from not showing up 2-ice in a row!
To Use Failure as Fuel for Self Efficacy
Which leads to the third benefit of this Tiny Little Action: by having the never miss 2-ice condition, you can re-pack your energy and invest it into showing up the following time.
Now you’re using failure (technically speaking) as fuel to prove to yourself that you’re strong-willed and CAN show up. Now – you’re the type that uses failure to get stronger. You’re building a habit AND you’re getting stronger.
And here is my bonus add-on to James’ rule:
Another Opportunity to Learn & Grow
Make sure at the critical junction of applying the rule, to also ask yourself: is there something I can learn from this instance of failure to show up? Positive or negative?
Sometimes you won’t have new insights (although in my book, that in itself is an insight, i.e. you’re repeating mistakes?).
Sometimes there will be stuff you didn’t even suspect or expect to come up…
Sometimes a simple point of failure will shine a light on a deeper issue that needs fixing BEFORE this habit sets in…
It matters not – it’s just another gifted opportunity to learn.
And the bottom line here is that you learn to embrace glitches because you know that each crack in the perfection you’re trying to achieve, can shine a light on how to do even better next time.
It also shows you that you can deal with stuff, that you’ll find your way most of the time and come up better than before.
Now – you’re the type of person who embraces failure :o)
Your Call to Tiny Little Action
Do you have a behavior/habit you’re working on creating at the moment?
Can you see yourself enjoying this gamification TLA?
If you already use an app or a spreadsheet to track your consistency – could this tactic enhance how you view your journey from no to a pro?
Are you already using this rule? If so – how are you finding it, and have you modified it in any way?
Please let us know below – so we can all learn from our collective experiences.